Peter A Goldsbury
To R Ternbach,
Many thanks for your response.
Well, the Tao of X, the tao of anything, in fact, presents some major challenges for a translator, as you will see from the Japanese translation of Fritjof Capra's famous book, The Tao of Physics.
The full title of the work is The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism.
The Japanese translation of the title is: 『タオ自然学―現代物理学の先端から「東洋の世紀」がはじまる』.
Here is the transcription into Roman script, with spaces between the words: "Tao shizengaku--gendai butsurigaku no sentan kara 'toyou no seki' ga hajimaru."
The main title, the Tao of Physics, is translated as Tao shizengaku.
タオ is simply Tao in the Japanese katakana script and presumably means here what it does in English (though one should never take this for granted). Shizen means nature and gaku means study. However, it is a made-up word that does not appear in the dictionary and it does not quite mean 'natural science', this term being shizenkagaku. So shizengaku is looser, meaning something like, studying nature or natural phenomena.
As for the subtitle, only one phrase is translated word for word into Japanese. This is 現代物理学: gendai butsurigaku: modern physics. 先端: sentan: primarily means point. Its transferred meaning is spearhead, vanguard, in the lead, at the cutting edge.
Then you have a phrase in single quotes: 東洋の世紀 touyou no seiki. Touyou means the Orient, or, the East and seiki means century.
Finally, you have はじまる: hajimaru: begin, which is written in hiragana.
So if you put everything together, including the three different writing systems and the grammatical particles, you get something like:
The Tao (&) Studying Nature: From the Cutting Edge of Modern Physics, the 'Century of the East' Dawns.